God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

06.07.2009 Things happen..

How do u got involved with HIV and AIDS? This is one of the usual question, when visitors come to Cape Town and visit the HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, seeing all the work done meanwhile through this organisation. And right, I was not sent by the German Catholic Bishops Conference to work in this field but to serve as the chaplain to the so called German speaking Catholic Community in Cape Town and there was no word in the contract mentioning the suffering of the millions in this country.
Being responsible for an immigration flock, it comes naturally that one tries to see how the community as “guests of the country” can contribute to the well-being of it’s people. So in the beginning I assisted in computer programs, life skills training and here and there a hand-out, but after 2 years into my time, I came across Tygerberg Academic Children’s Hospital and there it happened. Being instrumental to assist in a tele-medicine project of local Rotary clubs, I was asked to assist also in the field of HIV and AIDS. At that time, every third child admitted to hospital was HIV positive. And most died as there has been no medication 1999 available via the national health services.

I was prepared to help and envisaged a small little support structure to help out, not knowing, that this was indeed a turning point in my carrer as a priest and that from that very day on, the topic would accompany me, even brings me in sometimes in conflict with some representatives of the Roman Catholich Church. Why? Because no issue is more dangerous as the one which has to do with death and sex – and in both, religous institutions guard their superiority and touches therefore on the moral teaching of the churches. Caution is advised not to fall into the many traps lying along the way, especially when you are yourself a representative of such an institution. And I am one; indeed, I enjoy to be one and being a priest is for me one of the most attractive professions I can imagine.

Filed under: Reflection, , , , , , , , , , , ,

06.07.2009 Blogging

Blogging is “in” and so should also a priest allowed to write about his work, his topics, his dilemmas, joys and sorrows.  As I am working in South Africa and besides my parish work, which will soon be coming to an end as the chaplain of the German speaking Catholic Community, I dedicate lots of time into the work in the fields of HIV and AIDS, this blog will obviously deal foremost with these topics. But also the development of the church and politics are on the agenda – a good Christian is also a participating citizen and politics and religion have much in common.

I am looking forward to comments, encouragement and critical comments, but they should at least be constructive. 🙂 If there are fellow bloggers also in the fields of HIV and AIDS or in the circle of religion, feel welcome to make contact. All discussions, which connect different worlds and point of views will bring this world foreward in the best sense of the word.

sh

Filed under: General, , , , , , ,

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